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CCW Gets 2019 off to a Rousing Start in Nashville


Presented By: CrmXchange

 Like the ever-evolving industry it serves, the event originally known as ‘Call Center Week’ has been through a lot of changes over its 20-year history. Outsourcing that sent many customer care jobs overseas, then a movement toward work-at-home agents that is shifting the balance back. The ongoing shift from on-premise technology to cloud hosting and SaaS platforms. How to seamlessly serve customers across the broad spectrum of channels they choose. Better integration between CRM and contact center solutions. Integrating automation, AI and machine learning while maintaining the human touch.  

Last year, the events were rebranded as “Customer Contact Week.” as the year-long 20th anniversary celebration kicked off for 2019, the multi-event series is now primarily referred to simply as CCW, with Customer Contact Week alongside as a tagline. The organizer IQPC, a multinational producer of professional conferences and expositions in a variety of fields, is also the company behind the flagship event in Las Vegas in June and CCW Austin in October. There are also CCW events scheduled in Australia and Asia. IQPC’s internal group, Customer Management Practice, oversees the content and staging of all these conferences

CCW took place at the JW Marriott in Nashville, TN from January 15-18, 2019, attended by professionals representing a broad spectrum of organizations of all sizes and business categories. It got off to a rollicking start with an offsite welcome reception at Ole Red featuring a line-up of top country music performers. The 20th anniversary keynote “Design and Deliver Happiness for Employees and Customers,” was presented by Jenny Lim, Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, a firm she co-founded with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. The Engagement Keynote: “How to Build Passion, Purpose, and Power in Yourself, Your People, and Your Brand” was delivered by Carla Moore - VP of Sales Strategy, HBO. There were conference tracks on People, Process, Technology as well as Executive Club and CCW University sessions

The Expo Hall was open the same days as the main Conference, featuring more than 50 suppliers covering a variety of solution areas. CRMXchange had conversations with selected vendors to discuss their specific applications.


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           speechiq  singlecomm         wixanswers

Freshworks According to its website, the company—originally known as Freshdesk—was conceived in 2010 in the wake of a negative customer experience precipitated by a broken TV. Within months, it was up, running and attracting clients. It also swiftly raised several rounds of funding for its ticketing/customer support software. Since that time, its customer base has been on a steep upward trajectory and its offerings have broadened to include an IT service desk, a video chat and co-browsing platform, mobile engagement, a sales CRM, live chat and more. In 2017, Freshdesk rebranded itself as Freshworks. Alan Berkson, Global Director of Community Outreach/Analyst Relations at Freshworks, gave us an overview of the company’s progress.

In the 18 months since you updated your corporate identity to Freshworks, what significant changes, have been made in both product and philosophy?

It’s been more than a year since we changed our corporate identity, and one of the first changes we’ve had to make has been internal rather than with external branding. To move from having our flagship product also being the name of our company, to a house of brands under the Freshworks masthead, has required that the organization change from the ground up.

In terms of product, the change in identity has also meant a change in strategy for us. With the business landscape changing, and organizations wanting to simplify the software they use, as well as gain more from the advantages that accrue from having that kind of a system, Freshworks is transitioning into a platform. With 360-degree offerings that incorporate software bundles for Sales, Support, and Marketing, along with new AI/ML technology that enhances products with context, Freshworks is transforming from a product company to a platform that provides 360-degree solutions for organizations of any size.

What do businesses need to do to improve in-context collaboration that helps drives greater customer engagement in omnichannel interactions?

Business simply need to provide customers with a better customer experience. The challenge is the definition of a better customer experience has changed dramatically over the last few years. Customers don’t want to be repeating their details five different times to five different customer support people, and then have that followed up with a call from a sales rep asking them to upgrade their plan or perhaps sell them an add-on. Sales and support agents need to be able to collaborate better to make sure that the customer in question is not annoyed by repeated requests or context-less conversations. Business need the level of context they have for all customer interactions and collaborate better to deliver better experiences.

How does your Freshcaller software enable organizations to set up an effective cloud-based call center more quickly, easily and inexpensively than ever?

Freshcaller is a modern-day reimagining of our everyday phone system for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s cloud-based architecture, it brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center.

With traditional on-premise phone systems, a business needs to spend thousands of dollars on basic setup even before a single call is made. Freshcaller comes with zero setup charges and a feature-driven, pay as you grow pricing plan. A company can start its call center in minutes using Freshcaller with nothing but a web browser.

Freshcaller is a globally distributed solution unaffected by local outages without a single point of failure. It offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.

What new directions do you see Freshworks going in over the next several years?

Freshworks aspires to be the leading customer engagement company in the world, enabling organizations to provide great customer experiences for their customers. As we work to bring in more visibility for organizations to serve their customers better, AI and ML will also play their parts in our evolution. With more automation kicking in to help organizations achieve their goals, Freshworks will evolve from a product company to a platform that provides 360-degree solutions for enterprises.

PayActiv People living paycheck to paycheck often must pay a cost--a “Fin-Tax” if you will-- to access their own money when needed between paychecks. And let’s not forget the equally damaging emotional cost driven by the financial stresses they experience. PayActiv-- which claims it invented real-time access to earned wages—has eliminated timing-related fees and penalties for over 650K employees.  By removing costly fees millions of times over, reducing worker stress and helping to increase employee retention by up to 30%, PayActiv has created a comprehensive financial wellness platform that benefits employees in numerous ways. Beyond simply providing access to wages, PayActiv also offers bill paying, savings programs, discounts and even financial counseling.  Sabina Bhatia, VP Strategic Alliances for PayActiv, offered added insight.

In what ways does giving your employees timely access to the wages they’ve earned help diminish churn and improve productivity?

Financial stress leads to lower productivity, job loss, and poor health. Timely access to earned but unpaid wages enables people to plan, use, and save money while avoiding late fees, overdrafts, and expensive loans. PayActiv helps people regain control of their financial lives freeing them to concentrate on the job at hand.

What factors make using PayActiv a particularly attractive option for the contact center market?

Contact center businesses employ a large percentage of workers who are living paycheck to paycheck resulting in high financial stress between paychecks. Our friendly app comes with an unmatched ecosystem financial services for employees: 

  • Instant access to earned wages – even on nights, weekends and holidays
  • Cash pickup with Direct2Cash at any Walmart store
  • Electronic bill pay directly from the appVISA debit card – use at ATMs, stores, and online
  • Uber rides using Earned Wage Access even without a card or bank account
  • Budgeting and savings features 
  • Financial counseling and financial literacy resources 
How does creating a financial wellness program result in cost savings for businesses?   

According to 2018 study by Mercer, employees spend 10-20 hours a month worrying about money. Absenteeism, lost productivity and stress-related health issues result in increased expenses and high turnover rates for business. By implementing a holistic financial wellness program that includes earned wages access, bill pay, budgeting and savings features, and financial literacy resources, businesses experience significant cost savings through increased employee engagement and improved retention by 30%

What differentiates your solution from the other offerings in the marketplace?   

  • Our friendly app comes with an unmatched ecosystem of partners
  • Employees don’t have to change or even have a bank account. Employers don’t have to provide employee banking information.
  • PayActiv adds no cost to the business and requires no change in the payroll process
  • PayActiv is fully integrated marketplace partner of ADP and others
  • PayActiv is in all 50 states, implemented in businesses of all sizes, including Walmart - the world’s largest employer. 

SingleComm is a contact center technology solution provider whose team utilizes the latest development tools to create intuitive solutions that enhance a business’s inbound and outbound multichannel customer engagement initiatives for its customers. Its blended platform offers Dynamic Script Building, a powerful analytics platform, advanced reporting capabilities, WebRTC technology, and more. Ross Krisel, EVP Sales and Marketing, elaborated on the solution’s benefits.

How does your blended contact center solution enable companies to optimize employee performance while providing superior engaging customers across a variety of channels?

Our omni-channel communications platform enables our clients to communicate seamlessly across channels in real-time with their customers while also guiding the interactions to ensure the best outcomes. By utilizing WebRTC, we can efficiently switch from chat to voice to email in real-time. Agents using our solution can handle the most important or profitable task at any time – whether it be an inbound call, an outbound call, one or more chats, etc.  We distribute these communications using a routing system that is able to prioritize calls, chats or emails based on different criteria (such as the profitability or importance of each interaction) based on each agent’s skills and performance. The result is that agents are utilized more efficiently and they are also engaged with the communications that are best suited to their skills. Our proprietary CX Create tool allows our clients to create bespoke desktops which dynamically change through the journey with the customer. In a sales situation, this typically creates a quicker sale and higher average order.  For service interactions, this typically results in a quicker resolution as well as additional add-on sales opportunities which increase lifetime value.

In what ways does employing advanced WebRTC and web technologies allow both agents and supervisors to more effectively monitor interactions?

WebRTC allows us to make super-quick connections and as such, all interactions are tracked in true “real-time.” Gone are the days of a several second delay in reporting.  Our clients are now able to view all interactions across media channels in one simple-to-use dashboard. This allows them to ensure all agents are productive and most importantly, that all customer needs are being met in real-time. Our use of WebRTC allows any supervisor or other user with appropriate permissions to monitor or assist in calls or other interactions using any device that has a suitable browser and Internet connection.  In addition; our platform uses WebRTC to seamlessly switch between voice, chat, email, etc. hence there is no need to have agents log in and out of different tools to handles specific types of communication.

What are the advantages of disseminating information through Real-Time Dashboards and Historical Reports?

Real-time dashboards are critical for the modern contact center. The modern contact center needs to adapt to their customers and support different modes of communication (such as email, Web chat, Facebook messenger, etc.).  This creates a reporting nightmare for contact centers that don’t use a unified platform such as the one provided by SingleComm.  Our integrated Real-time dashboards enable our clients to see all demand across all types of communications and adjust staffing accordingly to prove the highest level of service. Likewise, historical reporting helps our clients evaluate how their agents performed over a period of time which is useful for ongoing education and iterating on performance.

What differentiates your solution from other contact center platforms available in the market? 

Our solution was built 100% in the cloud from day one and has been exclusively WebRTC from the beginning.  Many of the platforms we compete against have evolved over time and have some design limitations which make the experience less than ideal for both the contact center and the customer.

SpeechIQ is an AI-Driven speech analytics and Quality Assurance platform that believes its ease of use and cost-efficiency makes it an ideal cloud-based solution to drive agent productivity, operations efficiency and improved customer engagement. It offers Automated Scorecards to make it easier to monitor agent performance, enabling companies to score every call. The solution also allows companies to apply filters to call data and quickly target keywords or phrases to target or flag important calls. Sentiment analytics, using the power of IBM Watson, gives companies the capability to assign a sentiment score on each call for customers and employees. Nick Bandy, Managing Partner at SpeechIQ, took a deeper dive into what sets the company apart.

Can you outline the three steps you believe that companies need to take to gain actionable performance insight?

I’m a big believer in the “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” mentality. The key is to make certain that you’re measuring truly meaningful data points that-- if improved--can have a substantial positive impact on operations and/or the customer experience. With that in mind:

Identify meaningful KPIs – This will likely include things like Hold Times, Abandonment Rates, and AHT, but can be enhanced with elements such as Talk-over time, Silence Time, Use of Key Sales/Compliance/Service words and phrases, average sales/collections per call, and more.

Consistent Measurement and Communication – Choose the proper measurement cadence (daily, weekly, etc.) and look for meaningful trends and opportunities. I believe the companies that are most successful using KPIs to improve are the ones that communicate results consistently to every level of the organization.

Constructive Improvement – It’s not enough to communicate results relative to what is expected. The key is to provide meaningful, helpful tools and training to pave the path for improvement.

Why is it important for businesses to be able to get customized daily notifications on agent performance and create flexible scorecards to measure improvement?

Agents have varying strengths and weaknesses, especially as they address diverse customer needs and opportunities. The ability to receive daily notifications and have customizable scorecards enables managers to keep a pulse on the best way to optimize their workforce.

How does employing sentiment analysis help to provide a clearer picture of agent performance?

While all other metrics (AHT, silence time, talk-over time, etc.) may seem normal and in “the range,” sentiment analysis can give you a deeper look at how your agent is interacting with your customer.

What differentiates your solution from other call review/performance optimization solutions available on the market?  

I think the primary points of differentiation are that we offer a very robust speech analytics and quality management combined, we have an exceptionally easy user interface, and a very granular and accurate call driver/disposition capability. I also think our company culture is such that we’re more nimble and agile in addressing customer needs.  

Teckst offers a comprehensive messaging solution that enables enterprise businesses to receive, send and track customer messages from their CRM or customer service platform. The platform allows real time, human-to-human communication between brands and their customers. Teckst imports messages from multiple channels into a single view so customers can use their preferred messaging app to contact a company. Agents can respond quickly without the need to interrupt their current workflows. The solution also allows organizations to gather business intelligence by capturing what their customers are asking for and seeing where they are in their journeys. It’s easy to set up and implement, simple to onboard and train agents on using and launch with the buy-in of all stakeholders. Kenneth Watson, Vice President Sales and Partnerships at Teckst, Inc. provided more details.

Why is it important for companies to be able to link their CRM with a messaging solution, allowing agents to respond directly to SMS and other messaging applications?

The consumer’s personal experience with SMS and other messaging channels (FB Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat etc) have reset their expectations for customer service. It is no longer acceptable to say “we will not respond to you there” or “we will not answer you now”.  Amazon, Uber, Tesla, and others innovative marketers have demonstrated that investing in full-press engagement with customers pays hefty dividends in fostering customer loyalty and creating revenue opportunities. Accordingly, enterprises have realized that there is great value in using SMS and the new messaging channels to engage and service their customers. Capturing all of these conversations and data in the enterprises’ system of record (usually a CRM) is crucial to provide context and insure effective and substantive responses for your customer. 

How can using call-to-text save companies money by deflecting calls that would otherwise need to be handled in the contact center?

 On average, there is a 39% cost savings when an enterprise is able to deflect a voice customer service call and pass it through to an agent using a messaging channel. When messaging is deployed, an agent is able to handle more than one inquiry at a time.  Additionally, the agent can forward information to the consumer via email or text collateral that can address or solve the inquiry involved. We are also seeing our clients using the content of the conversations they capture to create more effective prophylactic tools such as better FAQ’s or product descriptions.  

A few years ago, your founder, Matt Tumbleson, predicted that there would be a tipping point that would turn b-to-b messaging into the predominant method of customer communications: do you believe that has happened yet and if so, can you point to examples

Matt correctly anticipated that messaging would emerge as an important channel for customer communication.  While the overall tipping point is still ahead of us, some of the most millennial-focused brands are already funneling the majority of their customer inquiries through a messaging channel. Brands such as Disney, Pepsi, Lyft, Casper, Jet, Amazon and more traditional retailers and service providers are prominently displaying links to their SMS, Facebook, Whatsapp, and WeChat channels. We expect that contact centers will be devoting more resources to training teams for messaging and this will help accelerate adoption.,  

What differentiates your solution from other messaging platforms available in the market?

Our total focus is on optimizing the experience between the Agent and the Consumer.  While we believe the native CRM software is best for maintaining the enterprises’ system of record, a platform devoted to the messaging channels offers great enhanced value. At Teckst, our offering includes procuring secure access to the SMS and OTT channels and then seamlessly integrating with Salesforce, Zendesk, Dynamics, SAP, Oracle, Freshdesk and others. We do not believe that agents should have to learn a new system or feature set. By piggybacking on the existing infrastructure, we can provide the most effective and scalable solution at an affordable price.

Wix Answers  offers help desk software that makes it possible for businesses of all sizes to better support their customers. In addition, they can gain valuable insights, empowering informed, data-driven decisions. Companies can set up their help desks in minutes by choosing a template, customizing it to suit their brand, add articles and click publish. The knowledge base software lets businesses easily create and manage FAQs, step-by-step guides and more. Whatever way customers get in touch— whether by email, phone or social media, organizations can manage, track and prioritize support tickets. Naomi Rozenfeld, Head of Strategic Marketing for Wix Answers filled in some of the blanks.

Why is it important for help desk software to be integrated with a robust knowledge base?

This is exactly where our journey with Wix Answers started because years ago we were looking for a beautiful and integrated help center that had content as an integral part of the help desk solution and we couldn’t find anything.

It is important to provide a robust knowledge base so that customers can easily help themselves. Many customers will have simple questions - shipping prices, return policy, hours - and will want to be able to find the answers quickly with a simple search.

Integration is important to best utilize the strong analytics backend provided by Wix Answers. By linking articles, feature requests and known-issues directly from a ticket, agents are able to give users better answers, provide more efficient support. The data allows a business to see which articles are helping users and which are leading them to contact it. Knowing which responses prompt further calls and understanding common search terms that require more in-depth articles, will help to improve the overall knowledge base and improve customer satisfaction.

In what ways does your solution enable companies to easily manage, track and prioritize support tickets from multiple channels?

Our approach is very simple - no matter how a user gets in touch, every single communication is part of one singular conversation and timeline. Here’s an example - let’s say a user is looking in the help center for an article but can’t find it, so they start a live chat with an agent, that agent then asks the user if they want to talk on the phone, the user agrees, so the agent calls, and then sends an email with all the information. If a ticket needs to be assigned to a new support team or have a higher priority, that is easy to mark and the correct people will be notified.

This entire correspondence is in one single ticket for the agent. And the user gets a unified experience. The agent can always access the timeline history, see what the user read in the Help Center - and all of this helps businesses give more personalized support that is also more efficient. If the customer changes communication channels, the correspondence is still reflected in a single timeline.

How does the built-in call center software in your platform provide a big-picture view not only of all inbound and outbound activity, but wait times, what customers are calling about and speed of resolution?

Wix Answers is very data-driven, and it also provides an analytics dashboard that we call “top issues” that gives you a high-level view of the user’s pain points, what users are asking, and lets you see where you can improve your product. Inherent in Wix Answers is a strong analytics backend that gives a total view of the whole platform. The data includes call center activity that has real-time analytics and all the information a company need to manage its teams, queues, and all lines. This enables customer service executives to get a full picture of where there may be gaps in information, more clarity in content, or simply more resources.

What differentiates your solution from others available in the market?  

Wix Answers is a DIY platform and does not require a developer to set up. A business owner or customer support manager can intuitively set the design and content of the platform to match their brand, set up a call center, and immediately begin better serving their customers across multiple channels. The close integration of the knowledge base, ticketing system and call center inside Answers makes it much easier to manage than using multiple vendors would be. Related to the integration, the powerful insights that come from the analytics platform allows businesses to work more efficiently.